We all want to get better.
Some do this through reading, taking courses, or going to seminars.
And these approaches are all great.
The challenge often comes when you want to integrate these learnings into daily life. When you’re in the trenches or in a highly-competitive set of circumstances, quoting the words of your favorite motivational speaker alone isn’t necessarily all that helpful.
Clearly, for many, there’s a missing piece in the whole learning and application process.
And about four weeks ago, I stumbled upon a true game-changer.
For whatever reason, I recently picked up journaling.
The results have been eye-opening.
Whether writing about problems, daily happenings, relationships, goals, or even daily tasks, the main impact I’ve seen revolves around how clarifying thoughts in this “dojo” or practice arena of sorts can carry over to one’s daily life in a beneficial way.
Conversations I’ve been hesitant to have seem to spontaneously happen while moving in a positive direction. Results are occurring in a more controlled and optimum manner and in most cases have are more closely aligned with my larger goals.
For those looking to incorporate a simple and cheap method they can use to take their life to the next level, lets cover seven benefits of journaling.
- Journaling allows you to deal with both old and new problems
We all have problems. Some of them are larger than others, but ultimately, they all need to be addressed if you value living your life with courage and being your most authentic self. Writing about these problems can help you to wrap your head around them, see what caused them (or what’s perpetuating them), understand how their standing in the way of you achieving your goals, and get some realizations about what you need to do to solve them.
- Journaling provides you an opportunity to prepare for difficult conversations
There are conversations that we all tend to avoid. Sometimes this is out of fear of what the results might be. The benefit of journaling here is that you can play out on paper ahead of time how you think they might go. While journaling you can experiment with your word choices and how you think the other party might react.
In a perfect world, by rehearsing with the dynamic ahead of time this way you’ll be able to come to a win-win type resolution with the other party. Or, you might even discover that the conversation isn’t all that important to have after all. With that, you might get into larger thoughts about maybe simply letting the situation go, or even whether the relationship with that person is as valuable as you once thought it was.
- Journaling is a medium through which you can meditate on your goals
One key I’ve learned about pursuing goals (once they’ve been set) is how important it is to keep them top of mind. We all know that visualization is valuable here, but personally, I’ve found it sometimes hard to stay on track while doing that type of exercise. I get distracted or lose focus. That’s where having a writing tool in hand comes into play.
While journaling about your goals you can write out how it will feel once you achieve them, and really design the situation to order while at the same time having the ability to go back through your writing to modify it as best you see fit.
If you make journaling about your goals a regular practice you can also reflect back on what you’ve written previously and modify your present goals to something more appropriate for you as you continue to grow.
- Journaling helps you to lay out constructive plans for goal achievement
In order to achieve a goal, you have to have a plan. Journaling allows you to play around with your plans on paper and anticipate what will happen prior to actually moving forward with certain steps. Going back to the “dojo” metaphor, your can think of your journaling time as your practice space where you can give deep consideration to what you think will work, what won’t, and what resources you have at your disposal.
- Journaling is a method to clarify your thoughts and streamline your actions
Our thinking processes are often chaotic. Also, by and large, our actions flow from our thoughts. In many cases we don’t know why we think what we do, and are still stuck in old thought patterns that aren’t helpful for where we currently are or where we want to go.
Journaling allows you to give consideration to all these elements which in turn can help organize your actions in a most productive manner.
- Journaling gives you a designated time and place where you can really get to know yourself
Society tells us that we need to care about what other people are doing. The media asks us “Oh, did you see what this celebrity did?” “Did you hear about the latest song or movie?”
Personally, I struggle to find value in this type of focus. I’m more interested in knowing myself, and understanding the type of legacy I’m going to leave. In making the time to journal (ideally, first thing in the morning) you can help ensure that the important things in your own life are kept top of mind.
- Journaling cultivates a better understanding of past events and their implications
Through understanding the past that you can get to know the present, and help direct your future. Journaling about previous situations, decisions, and priorities helps to promote these insights.
So, how do you start?
Since I’m still new to journaling, I’m in learning mode about finding new and better ways to make my time with pen and paper most productive. What I’ve been doing lately, is simply sitting down and free-writing. My typical goal for this time (which is usually no more than twenty-minutes) is to fill up one to two pages.
There’s really no particular structure I use beyond that. I just write about anything that’s on my mind. An added benefit of doing this is that content and tweet ideas seem to just come to me organically while at the same time tightening up my writing.
If all this sounds appealing to you, get yourself a pen and a notebook (it can even be a cheap college ruled type from the local store), and start using this simple yet profound tool today.
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